BLACKFOOT — A celebration of life and love was on display at the Blackfoot High School track on Friday night as cancer survivors, families and neighbors came together for Relay for Life.
At least 120 survivors attended Relay. Registered for Relay for Life were 62 teams totaling 820 participants. Money turned in to the Relay committee at the start of the evening totaled $77,480.
"We will definitely meet our goal of $100,000," said Sherrilynn Bair.
In the 19th century, this coming together of friends, neighbors and families was called a barn-raising. This 21st century twist is called a Relay-raising.
Angels Among Us from the Jason Lee United Memorial Church was the top fundraising team this year. They raised over $11,000.
The top three money-raising people were:
° Vickie Merle who raised $3,816.
° Florence Grant raised $2,083.
° Luz Bautista raised $1,146.
Mary Jones, age 89, was the oldest survivor at the Relay. She had breast cancer about 15 years ago.
Cancer is not a problem for her, she said. In 1999, she was knocked down by a garbage can and wind. She said she broke her jaw, her glasses, her hearing aids and her pride. She was in the hospital for two and one-half months.
"Now I spend a lot of time with doctors and tests but not for cancer," Jones said.
"My mother died from cancer when she was 48 or 49 years old," she said. "I was 14 years old when my mother died. I was a freshman in high school."
Jones said, "My dad lived until he was 103 2/3 years old.
"I play bridge each Monday morning and every other Tuesday afternoon," Jones said. "I also volunteer to do hair at Bingham Memorial Hospital. I've been doing this for 30 years."
Jones and her husband, Herbert, have one son and two daughters, seven grandchildren and more great-grandchildren.
Her husband and one daughter have died.
Daniella Dulisse discovered she had non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (NHL) in 2002.
"I thought I had strep throat," Dulisse said. "I'm in remission now but it keeps coming back but it's all right because it makes me stronger."
Maria Perez, a Relay participant, said she was at Relay for Life so she could "go for it and help fight cancer."
"You forget how cancer affects whole families," said Allen Jensen. "My mother- and father-in-law died from cancer and four of my uncles also died from cancer."
"We come out here [to Relay for Life] each year," Jensen said. "It's a good cause."